Manuel Laureano Rodríguez Sánchez (4 July 1917 – 29 August 1947), known as Manolete, was a Spanish bullfighter.
He rose to prominence shortly after the Spanish Civil War and is considered to be one of the greatest bullfighters of all time, described as such in a 1945 Mexican documentary film. His style was sober and serious, with few concessions to the gallery, and he excelled at the suerte de matar — the kill. Manolete's contribution to bullfighting included being able to stand very still while the bull passed close to his body and, rather than giving the passes separately, he was able to remain in one spot and link four or five consecutive passes together into a compact series.
He popularized a pass with the muleta called the "Manoletina," which is normally given just before entering to kill with the sword. In addition to all of the major bullrings of Spain, he had very important triumphs in Plaza Mexico.
He died in August 1947 following a goring in the upper right leg as he killed the fifth bull of the day, the Miura bull Islero, an event that left Spain in a state of shock. Manolete received his fatal goring in the town of Linares where he appeared alongside the up-and-coming matador Luis Miguel Dominguín.
In popular culture
- The George A. Romero film, Land of the Dead featured a character named Manolete, who was named after the bullfighter.
- Crooked Fingers' 2005 album Dignity and Shame is loosely based in part on the life of Manolete.
- "Death of Manolete" is a 10,000 Maniacs song from the 1983 album Secrets of the I Ching.
- Manolete was cited as the greatest bullfighter in the Twilight Zone episode, "A Game of Pool".
- Salvador Dalí portrays Manolete in his double-image painting, "The Hallucinogenic Toreador", 1969, Salvador Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg, FL
- A song called "The Great Manolete" (to the tune of La Virgen De La Macarena) appears on the album Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass, Volume 2 (A&M, 1962).
- "The Death of Manolete" was an entry in the television series "Playhouse 90" starring Jack Palance in the titular role and directed by John Frankenheimer in 1957.
- Adrien Brody played Manolete in Manolete (2008). Omar Muñoz played a young Manolete.
- Barnaby Conrad, The Death of Manolete, Phoenix Books, 2007. ISBN 1-59777-548-7